Feed My Starving Children

Last week, the girls and I participated in a service project with an organization called Feed My Starving Children (FMSC). We had been invited to a FMSC project a couple of years ago in our last Baha’i community, but we weren’t able to make it. I was so happy to hear that FMSC had recently opened a site very close to where we live now and that our homeschool group had arranged a service project there.

FMSC’s mission is simple: to provide nutritious, cost-efficient food to the world’s hungry children. And they’ve streamlined the process so that anyone ages 5 and up can help with a two-hour packing stint, which is so fantastic. (Anyone with young children knows it can be tricky to find volunteer opportunities the whole family can meaningfully participate in.)

When we arrived, we were welcomed by this gentleman, who told us about FMSC’s mission and showed us pictures and videos of kids who receive the food. They are a Christian organization, and as a person who wouldn’t be considered a Christian in the traditional sense, I felt very comfortable and welcomed there. (Unfortunately, we’ve had some experience with organizations who haven’t welcomed our help as Baha’is in the past.)

Their website says they welcome people of all faiths to help, and they mean it. They don’t shy away from their identity as a Christian organization and their promotional materials include relevant Bible quotes and such, but that’s the extent of any proselytizing. (I only point this out because, unfortunately, some faith-based groups can be more focused on promoting a particular ideology than on partnering with others to serve humanity. I felt that FMSC struck a beautiful balance between their intrinsic spiritual mission and their inclusive humanitarian mission.)

After the brief orientation, we all got hair nets and washed our hands.

Then we split into groups and got set up at our stations.

The basic gist is you work as a team to pack bags of “Manna Pack Rice” – a fortified mixture of rice, soybean protein, dried vegetables, and powdered flavoring. 
The food gets scooped into these bags, which get sealed and packed into boxes at each station. 

The girls thought the assembly line scooping was a lot of fun. 

They switched spots off and on to keep things interesting.

And after about an hour and a half of packing, it was time to clean up. Our station may have been slightly messier than most. 🙂
But everybody helped clean up.

And the kids were happy and proud to have been an equal part of the process.

And there may have been a little silliness along with all the joy and love.

While we were cleaning up, other volunteers were putting the full boxes on palettes. They really have this process down. Before going back to the main room, we prayed for the safe arrival of the food and for the health of the children who would be receiving it. Again, this part of the process was handled in a very unassuming and non-threatening way. They asked if anyone wanted to lead the prayer, and if people didn’t want to participate in the prayer at all, they could easily slip back to the main room, and no bones were made about it. Again, I was quite impressed with the humility, sincerity, and inclusive attitude of the people representing the organization.

Back in the main room, our host told us how many boxes we had packed and how many children that would feed. Our boxes were going to Haiti, which is particularly special to us since two of our kids’ best friends are from Haiti. Our boxes would feed 71 kids for an entire year. Really cool to see exactly what our two hours of work helped to do.

We also got to taste the food we’d packed, so we could see what the kids would be getting. It was actually quite delicious. And gluten-free, so The Muse could partake as well. 

As our host explained, our work that day was vital, but the organization also relies on funds to function. In addition to donating outright, they had a gift shop where you could purchase items from some of the countries they help. There was no pressure to do so, but seeing how the whole process worked and seeing how cost-efficient it was, it felt good to be able to help monetarily as well. Because they are able to rely so heavily on volunteers, 92% of FMSC contributions go toward the food, which is an impressive figure. We got a few Christmas gifts for our friends who have invited us to Christmas dinner.

FMSC has packing sites in Minnesota, Illinois, and Arizona. But they also have mobile packing events all over the country. I highly recommend checking to see if and when an event will be coming your way. It’s a great way for the whole family (well, almost – BoyWonder (3) is still too young) to help make a dent in the world hunger crisis. We’ll definitely be going back.

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Annie writes about life, motherhood, world issues, beautiful places, and anything else that tickles her brain. On good days, she enjoys juggling life with her husband and homeschooling her children. On bad days, she binges on chocolate chips and dreams of traveling the world alone.

Comments 3

  1. That is fabulous!!!! I love the way you described the tendency of some organizations to be CRAZIES in such a nice way. I knew what you meant. So I really am getting off FB. Let me know how I can subscribe to your blog to keep in touch. And my email is scbates@aol.com. you have to come visit us on your trip. Fredericksburg has so much history!

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